Geolocation, geolocation, geolocation?… Mobsta leads the way

London-based location targeting company Mobsta has come top in an independent ranking of geolocation providers in the UK, conducted by MediaCom, one of the world’s leading agencies.

MobstaThe mobile world has undergone several transformations since the mobile phone went mass market and at every stage of that development there have been Wild West situations.

Rather like a wagon train being surrounded by First Nation Americans, it has always been a business for explorers and not all of them honourable.

Mobile advertising, mobile games, mobile technologies… they’ve all attracted hucksters and bullshitters and not the new game in town is geolocation. An ecosystem is emerging, but there are no real regulations and standards for brands and agencies to refer to.

Fortunately, things are changing for the better and a recent independent ranking of geolocation providers in the UK. run by MediaCom, which can across three client brands, finally offers some form of yardstick.

The report was designed to determine the validity of the claims of many of the companies that they offer the best reach and accuracy and winner was… London-based location targeting company Mobsta.

Out of the nine participants, Mobsta, which employs Placecast’s programmatic technology, came first in both scale and accuracy tests. Out of the 15 providers were originally invited to participate in the test, nine companies declined to take part. I wonder why THAT was, maybe they shouldn’t have made it into the wagon train anyway.

“There are many companies who offer compelling targeting and measurement solutions but it’s difficult to know whose story is real and how accurately they can deliver on location targeting.

“We wanted to have confidence in our recommendations to clients, so created this test to help us cut through the claims, and offer definitive advice on how accurate hyper-local targeting is,” said Owain Wilson, Data Strategy Director at MediaCom.

Mobsta is a specialist in location targeting and audience profiling techniques and has the exclusive rights to the Placecast mobile data management platform (DMP) that aggregates location data and user behaviour across different devices in the physical world.

The company translates it into audience segments that can be targeted through mobile advertising campaigns via its Demand Side Platform (DSP). The platform delivers a understanding of the relationship between users and locations over time, enabling them to make smarter marketing decisions.

“With the ever-increasing use of mobile advertising and changes in format, we see a real opportunity for brands to use geolocation and welcome efforts like these to help brands navigate the crowded market place. Third party validation is key and we hope that this study will encourage more brands to invest in the technology to improve their campaigns,” concluded George Dixon, Strategy Director, Mobsta

New workmates are searched by co-workers on social media

A new report says that one in four employees search social media for information on new workmates

workmates The first day in a new job is always daunting, not least relationships with co-workers. In 2017, it appears that nosey parkers are turning to social media to find out who’s new at the company.

According to cybersecurity company Online Spy Shop, on a study into workplace social media snooping, as many as 24% of new workmates may search personal social media accounts for information.

In the first week of a new job, 1 in 4 workmates will search for you on social media. On the first day, only 5% will search for information, but that increases throughout the week as people get nosier. There can be no hidden skeletons because there is no place to hide them.

The report also goes on to say that 19% of respondents waited at least one day, but searched within the space of a week, with Twitter (bizarrely) being the most common platform for snooping on new colleagues, followed by Instagram and Facebook.

On the plus side, the report also says 34% of respondents said they will wait until they’ve got to know a colleague before searching for them, while 21% said they’ve never searched for a new colleague on social media.

As ever, pictures are more important than words. More than 25% of people who did admit to snooping, 25% did so to look at pictures, 22% wanted to find out relationship status, while only 3% said they did it just for ‘general nosiness’.

“Social media has put people’s private lives within tempting reach of anyone who cares to view it, so it’s perhaps unsurprising that so many people look up new colleagues as soon as they meet them, and in some cases, before they meet them.

“While most of it is undoubtedly innocent curiosity, this does raise genuine privacy concerns. I’d urge anyone to do two things. Firstly, make sure their privacy settings are how they want them to be and secondly, consider removing any posts they’d be uncomfortable with new colleagues seeing,” said Steve Roberts, cybersecurity consultant at Online Spy Shop.

Uber boom brings down taxi drivers’ wages by 10%

New survey shows that Uber has led to a 10% fall in wages for traditional taxi drivers, but overall driver numbers have boomed.

uberUber’s rollout across US cities has driven down wages by 10% among salaried taxi drivers, according to a new report from the University of Oxford.

The Oxford Martin School report Drivers of Disruption? drills into the the impact of Uber on taxi drivers from 2009 to 2015, using data on the rollout of Uber across cities from the American Community Survey (ACS), a leading source of information on the US workforce.

It found that on average the number of self-employed taxi drivers in a city went up by almost 50% after Uber was introduced, but also driving wages down by an average of 10% of traditional taxi drivers, compared to cities where Uber remained absent.

The study also found that:

• The number of hours worked increased among both salaried and self-employed taxi drivers

• Even traditional taxi services experienced growing employment after the introduction of Uber

• Uber drivers typically earn more per hour than their counterparts

• The decline in traditional taxi incomes was offset by an expansion of business income among self-employed drivers

“The data provides the first hard evidence of the impact of the ‘sharing economy’. Uber is the flagship of the sharing economy, but what our study shows is that even in one of the sharing economy’s most exposed industries, traditional jobs have not been displaced,” said Dr Frey, Co-Director of the Oxford Martin Programme on Technology and Employment.

The report raises questions about efforts being made, in parts of Europe and elsewhere, to ban or restrict the adoption of Uber. The losers, however, are undoubtedly traditional taxi drivers who have already lost 10% of their income… while the winners are customers who have more choice amid falling prices.

As Uber continues to spread across the US, it remains to be seen what the next trend will bring. It is certain, however, that traditional taxi drivers will continue

Cybersecurity worries boost IT spending globally

Cybersecurity is a huge issue for companies. IT budgets are finally catching up with the new reality.

cybersecurityIn the early internet days IT departments had to fight for budget until companies realised how vital IT services were for existence, let alone operation.

In recent years the emphasis has moved to digital transformation and IT budgets have relatively stagnated. This, however, will change in 2017 and has probably already changed. The cybersecurity threat means that the enterprise sector has finally had to wake up to its responsibilities.

The accompanying infographic from Computer Nerds underscores how cybersecurity concerns are well-founded. According to the company, 26% of hard drives fail within the first four years and even three years ago, 90% of companies were reporting security breaches of their websites.

That threat has magnified in the ensuring three years. According to WordPress specialists Pragmatic Web, as soon as a NEW web site goes live, it will be attacked within SIX MINUTES of launch. If that sounds bad enough, think of older web sites and those that weren’t set up with cybersecurity as a focus.

Moreover, Computer Nerds says that 78% of companies in the private sector are worried about data security. When that figure reaches 100%, cybersecurity defences will be rooted in business consciousness and there may finally be strong defences to withstand constant breaches.

I attended a cybersecurity dinner at the House of Lords last year where after a few bottles of decent wine, the UK’s leading experts laid out their hands. The world has a global cybersecurity skills shortage of more than one million people and it will take at least half a generation to fix the mess of a vulnerable infrastructure.

That the internet is infected is no longer a question. It is beginning to resemble a festering sore that is not responding to the medieval leeches currently being used to treat it.

Hopefully, increased IT budgets will mean that forthcoming treatment will be more sophisticated than these leeches or the optimistic maggots that are currently being used.

70% of freelancers were asked to work for free in 2016

The nature of money or currency may be changing, but attitudes from budget-holders seem to be hardening.

freelancersMore despair from the freelance world, where ‘free’ appears to be somewhat different than the freedom such an existence is supposed to provide.

According to, a ‘rapid approval tool that helps freelancers collaborate with their clients’, 70% of the UK’s creative freelancers were asked to work for free last year, and 9% of those did exactly that.

Those 9% are traitors to the freelance world, either really desperate or more likely useless. Why people do this is beyond this writer. Why not just mug yourself, pistol-whip yourself and let yourself steal your own money? These are humans acting like AI machines, ‘the architects of their own gravedigging’, as Czech author Milan Kundera once wrote.

According to the survey, the majority of UK freelancers who did work for free (80%) said they did it for the experience, while under-25s were almost twice as likely to work for free as over-25s. That 25, by the way, relates to their age, not their IQ.

“I think this is a serious problem. Working on-spec is tempting when the client dangles the carrot of future commissions. It rarely works out that way and can lead to a lowering of demand for experienced, but comparatively expensive, professionals”, said Sir Cary Cooper CBE, Professor of organisational psychology health at Manchester Business School.

Rightly so, Sir Cary, granted.

Apparently photographers, of which a whopping 16% worked for free last year, are the worst culprits, along with graphic designers, illustrators video producers and, gulp, journalists.

Cities with a large concentration of tech, media and creative industries appear to have a lower percentage of freelancers willing to work for free, the best being London, Manchester and Brighton.

“Aside from the ethics of requesting free labour, businesses are doing themselves no favours by attempting to get work done on-spec. You wouldn’t walk into a hairdressers and ask for a free haircut on the promise that you’ll tell all your mates where you got your hair done,” said Charlotte Whelan, project manager at

Indeed. There again, maybe we should all become hairdressers, that appears to be the only business where nobody is expected to train for years, refine their craft for more years and then give it away to any idiot who asks for it.